I’ve been reading — or intending to read — Reza Aslan’s Beyond Fundamentalism for a number of months now. I’ve had a copy out from the library for a while, and I’ve picked it up and set it down. His writing style is very, very engaging, so it’s not as though it’s a difficult read, but as I was writing to a friend yesterday, I realized I was using this book as a means to avoid other books.
There are three in particular on my TBR pile that I’m avoiding. Thousand Names of Vishnu, In Praise of the Goddess, and Love Song of the Dark Lord. Four, I guess, if we’re going to count the Bhagavad Gita, though I don’t know that I’m ever going to get around to reading that when I could listen to it instead. (Maybe while knitting!) Once it became clear that I was using the book as a means to avoid other, more relevant books (maybe more nourishing books, not so much more relevant) I set it aside, went to by TBR stack, and considered. I realized that picking up the Vishnu book would be more of the same; getting in my way of what I really wanted to be reading, rather than what I felt I should be reading. So I picked up In Praise of the Goddess, and started reading.
I’m still in the intro. I wish it was smaller/more portable, but so far I’m very happy to be reading it. I realized, while talking about possibly sharing the infant-stages of my shrine for Durga, Ganesh, Vishnu, and Lakshmi in a video, that as much as I’m making this whole thing feel off-putting for myself, there is such inexplicable open-arms welcoming from Durga (at least, from a being I recognize as Durga primarily because I experienced it upon finding the Durga mask, and I don’t know enough to make distinctions at this point, and so far, it seems okay). The Vishnu matter is intimidating, and it’s intimidating because it brings so much shaking up of things I thought settled and He’s huge and slightly imposing, and let me be clear, Poseidon is taking advantage of that to press how imposing HE can be. I’ve never been a run to momma and hide sort of person, and I don’t think I’ll start now, but I’ve also never experienced this sort of embrace, either. Words fail. It’s a bit “Don’t worry about Them, don’t worry about anything, come over here, here’s some tea, here’s a cat for your lap, here’s a warm shawl to wrap up in, let Me tell you some things, let u/Us visit for a time.” Which, in its own way, touches on things about Poseidon and His relationship with Other Powers that . . . yeah. Words fail.
Afterward, He spent some time drawing attention to His immensity, and the fact that part of my issue is the emphasis on Vishnu as a cosmic Power, and the fact that, while I don’t ignore that with Poseidon, I do focus on o/Our intimate relationship a lot. And it’s been important to do that — getting to a secure place within that, allowing myself to love and to be loved by Him has been no small thing, but most of the time I focus on the Poseidon I can see and reach and experience. There is the greater Poseidon, who I believe is the same being, but is more big-picture, less personal, more remote and detached. In my daily living, my Beloved is a part of this Power, but is not the entire being. In my daily living I also suspect that this differentiation is more about what my brain can handle and less about how He actually is.
But, He pushes this, now and again. And last night, He took me into a mental space where I could not escape His enormity. It was very much Him making me see Him looking at me, and making me be aware of, if not all that He is, at least more of what He is. And, coming up on twenty years of walking with Him, it is still overwhelming. It is uncomfortable. I was very much in a “don’t look at me, don’t see me, don’t look at me!!” place, for almost the entire thing. “Why are You doing this?”
I can’t read about Vishnu, and Shiva, and, Brahma and not think of Poseidon, and Hades, and Zeus. I can’t read about or contemplate the creations of the universe and not think of “my” Brothers. I realize that, in the Hellenic sources, the Three are not the creators of the universe, but rather inheritors (if taking by force can be called inheriting). And I can’t look at Vishnu without seeing Cosmic Poseidon, and it’s just something I’m going to have to deal with.
Dream fragments, for my own record, consisted of a beefcake of a Poseidon, cartoony looking even in the dream, and “me”, on a quest to find some artifact before someone else did. I don’t remember much beyond the cartoony look of this Poseidon, and still being amazed that He had a form, because generally in my dreams He’s the ocean, or steam, or a rainstorm. Or a statue.
Second bit was a more involved dream with a childhood friend. We were teenagers again, and off with some people in a settlement camp in the winter somewhere? At one point, we were waterskiing except it wasn’t really, it was just sort of being pulled through the water by boats without anything but our bodies being dragged along? I dunno. The water was exceptionally clear and warm, and the point was to go to this other bit of land to look for some thing in particular. I do know that I arrived with a bunch of “clams” attached to my person (painfully so), and that they had to be removed. I was embarrassed, but then it turned out that the clams (understand dream clams, so no real resemblance to clams in behavior. They were like leeches, only with hard shells, and were treated as a plant in the dream) wound up being the best source of food oil that these people were looking for, and my tag-alongs essentially made them pretty wealthy, and gave them a valuable surplus that they’d be able to trade. Once I got over being stunned by this, I insisted that they bring me back to the place they’d attached to me so I could give some gifts in return. so, that was neat, if disjointed and nonsensical.